Editorial Feature

What is an Optical Diffuser?

An optical diffuser can be defined as an element that scatters light. An optical diffuser is used for softening or giving shape to an illumination. Optical diffusers are commonly used in commercial photography.

Commonly available optical diffusers are refractive elements that are combined with a random surface profile by processes such as holographic exposure, sandblasting or programmatically. This datasheet will elaborate on the working principle, construction and applications of optical diffusers.

Working Principle

An optical diffuser converts the incident light beam into a cluster of scattered rays. When a diffuser is placed in front if an object, we can only view a blurred image. When it is placed at the focal plane of a camera a preview of the image can be viewed.


An optical diffuser is basically a refractive element with a random surface profile. These random surfaces are created by processes such as holographic exposure, programmatically using lithography or direct writing and sandblasting.


The principle applications of an optical diffuser are as below:

  • Commercial photography
  • Illumination displays

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